Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Special Forces

There has been a good deal of prattle from the propaganda wing of the Obama Government – otherwise known as the Mainstream Media – regarding the new Super PAC, Special Operations for America, led by former Navy SEALS and other special operators.

The propagandists looked to cash in on a hoped for backlash against Special Operations for America by pointing to past criticism that resulted when the Obama administration gave Hollywood filmmakers access to names and other classified information regarding SEAL Team Six. They then hoped to portray Special Operations for America as hypocrites in the face of their very public censure of President Obama and his administration.

Where the Propagandists fall flat on their faces is in the fact that the Obama administration gave access to what most agree was classified information as well as access to active members of the teams. In other words information that could negatively impact our security and endanger lives. Alternatively, the Super PAC is made up of veterans, men who are no longer duty bound to silence so long as they do not divulge any classified information.

The public sees the disparity in this and it is apparent that Obama and his propaganda media are accomplishing nothing in their attacks on Special Operations for America other than to make themselves look bad. In reality the issues of providing access to active SEAL team six operatives, divulging likely classified mission details and taking credit for the Bin Laden operation resonate deeply with the American people across party lines.

As veterans, the folks of Special Operations for America most certainly have the first amendment right to speak out in any way they choose just like any other American Citizen. What is important about what is happening is that veterans of Special Forces, with a few notable exceptions, normally keep their past with the teams to themselves. It is a sort of unwritten code. It takes extraordinary circumstances to force these private men into the public eye.

What is it then that would bring these veterans forward? These are men who have served this country in ways that most of us would shrink from the very idea of. These men truly are heroes in every sense of the word, yet they would never willingly accept that title. These men, these Heros, were compelled to come forward as a united political front by one man: President Obama.

I believe that this country is at a significant place in its history. We are at a crossroad of epic proportion. This country can either embrace its roots as a Republican Democracy based on the economic principles of capitalism with the Judeo-Christian ethic as its social foundation. Or else, we can throw away hundreds of years of unprecedented growth, influence and prosperity for a utopian, euro-socialist fantasy that has been proven time and again to be unsound and even now, across the sea, is plunging into an abyss of its own making. This country must decide its course not just in the coming election, but in the coming years. Very hard decisions must be made if this country is ever to reclaim its place in the affairs of the world.

President Obama has shown himself to be the antithesis of everything that this country was founded upon. His actions, many directly by his own hand via executive order, have led this country to the brink of oblivion. This man, who promised to heal the differences between peoples, to have an open and transparent government and lead us to economic prosperity has, instead, plunged this country into a morass of heightened racial and social tension, governmental excess and abuse of power and brought us to the verge of economic ruin. It has been so thorough and so systematic that it is as if it were all done specifically to plan.

In my opinion, Special Operations for America was formed as a response to a perceived threat to this country. It was formed by men who once swore an oath to defend it from any threat, foreign or domestic. I believe that they see Obama and his administration as a direct threat to the future of this country. They have been summoned out of anonymity to address this threat. In doing so, in peacefully exercising their rights under the constitution of this country, they have focused the light of truth on Obama and his administration.

Despite the efforts of the Propagandists, Americans who otherwise might have dismissed the concerns over Obama’s actions as nothing but conservative carping are now being forced to reckon with the truth. Because of the respect for the men and women of our Special Forces, respect which crosses party lines, peoples eyes are being opened. They are being opened to Obama’s willingness to jeopardize the security of this country and the safety of those brave men and women who lay their lives on the line to defend it. All simply to make himself look good in the eyes of the electorate.

Whether by accident or design, incompetence or complicity, this President has done immeasurable damage to The United States on all fronts: Socially, Economically and Diplomatically. It is quite possible we will never regain our place as the leaders of the free world thanks to this man. Is it any wonder that the men and women of the Special Forces would feel compelled to come once again to the defense of the country they so love?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Keeping The Faith Part II

The last article I wrote, was from deep in the Valley of Shadows. Suffering from a debilitating neurological condition, from time to time I find myself succumbing to doubt, despair and confusion. Satan takes that opportunity to fire away with those fiery darts and some of them find their mark.

I am writing this article from within the valley, but now I can see the shadows withdrawing, the sky opening before me and I can hear the trickle of the cool waters and smell the green pastures. I’m not out of the valley yet. But I am close.

As Jesus leads me out of the valley I feel strength returning to my battered spirit. I begin to remember all the things Jesus has freed me from. I regain that peace, that confidence, that rest that comes with knowing the true and living God.

Before I came to Christ many years ago, I was a dedicated atheist. Carl Sagan was my savior and his book, Cosmos, was my doctrine. But this little voice kept telling me there was more. Finally I decided to silence that little voice by proving to myself beyond any doubt that the Bible was just myth and legend. Instead, I found salvation in the arms of Jesus Christ. That was before I became ill. Since then Jesus has sustained me throughout my health crisis. I cannot imagine how I would have dealt with it without Him.

While Christ has brought forth the fruit of change within me, temperance for drunkenness, peace for rage, love for hate, devotion for apathy, faith for faithlessness, when I am in the Valley of Shadows, satan is able to obscure my sight of those good things while focusing my eyes on those areas where I still fail.

While in the valley, I feel fear, and doubt and depression and begin to question God. The result is that satan is able to manipulate me into questioning my own salvation. He uses God’s very word against me just as he did with Jesus in the wilderness. He will use 1st John, 4:18 to make me ashamed of my fear (He who fears has not been perfected in love.) or 2nd Titus, 1:7 to make me question bouts of anxiety and depression, (For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.)

I that the feelings of fear, doubt, anxiety are normal for everyone and even more so for the chronically ill. Nevertheless there are times when such doubts truly haunt me. As I said in my previous article, it is at these times that it comes down to sheer endurance. Just keeping the faith. In the end it is the Holy Spirit and God’s word, the Bible, which sustain me.

The following verses bring me comfort:

Heb_13:5  Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, "Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!" – And He never has.

2Co_1:8  For, brothers, we would not have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength; so much so that we despaired even of life. – Even Paul despaired.

Rom_5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Even when you can do nothing else, just keeping the faith is enough.

1 Timothy 2:4, "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." – Even Me!

My battles with the shadows is not over, for our warfare is spiritual, not carnal (Eph, 6:12). In the valley sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the truth, but, as I emerge into the light it is brought to my mind that in Jesus Christ I already have victory!

1John 5:4  For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping The Faith

As my friends out there know, I am ill. I have a degenerative neurological condition that has put me in a wheelchair much of the time and left me weak, stiff and in pain.

This illness, I call it my “affliction,” (though I am certainly no Paul) has challenged me physically, mentally and spiritually. Prior to falling ill, I led a very active life. I had a successful career as a real estate appraiser and worked with the local Search and Rescue as well. I was an outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing and camping deep in the wilderness. Unfortunately, my “affliction” progressed to the point that I had to give up most of the things I loved and eventually I had to take an early retirement. Not exactly how I saw my life turning out…

Needless to say, this was devastating. The effect it had on my family was just as devastating. My children saw their dad go from an energetic and playful daddy to a pain wracked crippled husk of his former self. My wife watched her husband and life partner go through hell on earth. Everything we hoped and dreamed of was forever changed by this turn of events.

Normally this would be the point where I would interject some inspirational and encouraging words and some verses from God’s Word and turn a sad story into something uplifting. Certainly, I have experienced glorious blessings from God in the face of this affliction. He has blessed me with a wonderful family, I have a roof over my head, food and clothing and even a couple of ornery horses. Many times my illness has been a vehicle for touching lives and for God to touch my family and myself. That is not the topic this time however.

This essay is about the low times. Times like now, when I am deep in the valley. When the shadows stretch their spindly arms over my head and I feel as if my illness is swallowing me alive. When weakness and pain wrack my body and my spirit. When affliction and the cares of this world overwhelm me, stifling my witness and hobbling my walk with Christ.  At times like these it seems my faith hangs on only by the barest thread. It comes down to sheer endurance. Just keeping the faith.

The first time that I hit a low point like this, I wondered if God had indeed forsaken me. I fell into a dark depression wondering how long I could endure such physical and spiritual agony. Satan certainly takes advantages of these low points and the spiritual oppression that darkened my thoughts and smothered my spirit was profound.

I learned a lot from that first time and subsequent times that I have passed through that same dark valley I was better able to cope. I learned that no matter how bad it gets God never allows me to be overwhelmed beyond my ability to, with His help, endure. He showed me how His Word strengthens an oppressed spirit and how prayer can free me from the machinations of the enemy. God proved to me that He will never leave me or forsake me. It is His strength which sustains me through these trials.

Despite this knowledge, there are still times when I have asked Him why He would allow something like this to happen to me. I have wondered if I had done something wrong or offended Him in some way. I know He is beyond all that of course. Nevertheless, it is especially in these times of weakness that the enemy fires off the fiery darts of accusation, doubt and guilt. They find me too weak to hold up the shield of faith and some of them find their mark. Illness and pain can lead to fear and doubt in the strongest of Christians and I am no different.

These journeys through the valley of shadows, though mercifully infrequent, still shake me. Maybe that’s why God occasionally allows me to encounter them. The fear of calamity that seems to come when the shadows grow and the feelings of guilt, feelings that I should try harder, do more, all wash over me. A sea of shame. Compounding the psychological affliction is the physical. Pain. Weakness. Fatigue that is so profound it is as if my life is ebbing out of me. The disjointed feeling of arms and legs that don’t do what my mind tells them to. Fingers that press random keys on the keyboard of their own accord. The darkness of these days is almost unbearable. While out of context I can’t help but think of the verse from the 13th chapter of Mark, "And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, whom He has chosen, He has shortened the days." I pray the Lord shortens the days I spend in the valley.

As I said, I am no Paul. Even in the face of horrible affliction he soldiered on preaching and teaching no matter what. I, on the other hand, well… Yeah, I’m no Paul. When I am in the valley I just try to stay focused on God’s Word. I pray and seek His Face knowing that He will sustain me. Before long I will emerge from the valley into the green pastures beside the still waters. Each journey through the valley is shorter and I emerge stronger and, perhaps, even a little wiser. It is never easy but with God, it is not impossible. It just comes down to keeping the faith.